Safety Insurance Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:SAFT) today reported first quarter 2010 results. Net income for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 was $12.8 million, or $0.85 per diluted share, compared to $11.8 million, or $0.73 per diluted share, for the comparable 2009 period. Safety’s book value per share increased to $41.72 at March 31, 2010 from $41.20 at December 31, 2009. Safety paid $0.40 per share in dividends to investors during both the quarters ended March 31, 2010 and 2009. Safety paid $1.60 per share in dividends to investors during the year ended December 31, 2009.
Direct written premiums for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 increased by $8.6 million, or 5.9%, to $154.1 million from $145.5 million for the comparable 2009 period. The 2010 increase occurred primarily in our personal automobile and homeowners lines, which experienced increases of 3.3% and 1.7%, respectively, in average written premium per exposure. Partially offsetting these increases was a 5.2% decrease in average written premium per exposure in our commercial automobile line.
Net written premiums for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 increased by $6.1 million, or 4.4%, to $147.1 million from $141.0 million for the comparable 2009 period. This increase was due to the factors that increased direct written premiums combined with decreases in premiums ceded to Commonwealth Automobile Reinsurers (“CAR”), and partially offset by decreases in premiums assumed from CAR. Written premiums assumed from and ceded to CAR decreased as a result of the phase-out of the CAR personal automobile reinsurance pool, which was fully replaced by an assigned risk plan, the Massachusetts Automobile Insurance Plan, beginning with personal automobile policy effective dates after March 31, 2009.
Net earned premiums for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 decreased by $2.2 million, or 1.6%, to $133.2 million from $135.4 million for the comparable 2009 period. Although direct and net written premiums increased for the quarter, net earned premium decreased due to prior quarter decreases and the lag between the time the premium is written and earned. The effect of assumed and ceded premiums on net written and net earned premiums is presented in the attached tables.